This course is designed for managers that need the skills to manage effectively, difficult conversations and to handle challenging colleagues. The focus is to instil an ethos of ‘respecting the needs and rights of your colleagues whilst maintaining the objectives and core values and of the organisation’.


Our dealing with difficult people courses are one of our popular courses as it effectively demonstrates how to neutralise problem situations in the workplace. It covers a wide range of scenarios that occur in the workplace such as; working with aggressive people, disagreeing with others, handling bullies at work, dealing with ignorant people at work and working with unreasonable people. This course will cover mediation and will show delegates how valuable managing and mediating conflict is when managing or handling difficult staff/employee(s). The dealing with difficult people at work course also provides useful information for working with a difficult boss/manager and guidance on how to deal with bullying in the workplace

Course Aims and Objectives

  • Gain an understanding of the issues that produce challenging behaviour and conflict
  • Develop a consistency of approach when dealing with potentially difficult situations
  • Handle confrontation in a calm and professional manner
  • Project a positive, tactful and assertive approach when handling difficult people

Course Programme

In developing the course content we place emphasis on empowering staff that have a range of skills and experiences to develop greater quality in their work and increase productivity. The training will focus on the following:

  • Develop specific strategies for conflict resolution
  • Recognise classic profiles of difficult people and strategies for handling them
  • Pre-empt challenging situations and avoid escalating them further
  • Develop communication skills designed to improve your delivery of bad or unpleasant news
  • Recognise personality types with which you may clash
  • Develop assertive skills and behaviours
  • Handle aggressive behaviour
  • Deliver negative feedback to a colleague or subordinate
  • Give positive feedback
  • Calm angry, upset and unresponsive individuals


Pre/Post Course Support

Prior to conducting a course your training co-ordinator will have had the opportunity to liaise with one of our lead trainers who will begin to breakdown your companies objectives.

A key part of their process is understanding what led to your decision to improve your team.

We will incorporate all your current training materials to build in effective role plays and discussions suited specifically to your organisational needs.

Before each course delegates will have completed:

  • The pre-course questionnaire (Including personal objectives for the session)

After the course each delegate will receive:

  • A CPD Accredited Certificate
  • A Comprehensive course manual
  • Additional resources beneficial to your continued learning

Your organisation will receive:

  • Constructive feedback on the delegates progression
  • A roadmap for continued learning specifically to your needs


Proposed One-Day Course Agenda

This is a proposed agenda for the course.

Morning9.30-1.00 / Afternoon 2.00-5.30


Analysing the causes of conflict

By understanding the causes and triggers of difficult behaviour delegates will be able to handle communication  effectively and confidently.

Recognising Passive, Aggressive and Assertive behaviours

Delegates will able to recognise passive, aggressive and assertive communication and body language. We will also show how to reduce potential conflict by adopting assertive behaviours.

Mastering assertive communication – managing task and relationship issues

What to say when assertively managing a situation. We will give delegates many communication strategies that range from simple ‘thinking on your feet’ options to more complex strategies

Conversation control – Controlling the communication

In this part of the course we will teach delegates techniques that will allow them to establish control during a conversation and be able to guide it through to a successful conclusion. Delegates will be encouraged to develop their own strategies based on typical situations they have to handle and to role-play these.

Verbal conflict diffusion strategies

Diffusing and calming strategies for hostile and emotional clients and what to say. Understanding and reacting to verbal attacks.

Handling conflict

Dealing with difficult people require different strategies and techniques. Delegates will learn how to handle difficult situations and maintain control in a calm and professional manner.

Analysing your conflict resolution profile

Using the Questionnaire-Behavioural style analysis each delegate will discover their ‘reactive behavioural style’ and how that can lead to rapport or conflict with other styles. By understanding the personality of others allows us to be able to present our message to them in order to achieve our objectives

Recognising classic profiles of difficult people

From the results of the questionnaire we will examine the profiles of difficult people and the recovery strategies needed to manage them more effectively. Each delegate will produce an action plan for dealing with ‘their’ difficult person

Strategies for communicating difficult issues and aggressive situations

The types of behaviour we will discuss are people who are demanding, angry, highly emotional, hostile, unresponsive and threatening. By recognising the causes of difficult behaviour, delegates gain an understanding of specific conflict triggers and how to manage them.

Planning for the difficult conversation

We will outline key strategies that will allow delegates to plan for and manage a difficult person. Each delegate will role-play their scenario and discuss key learning points.

Techniques for remaining calm when conflict  arises

Maintaining a positive approach to customers and colleagues is essential for service professionals. We will show ways of keeping a confident attitude and approach at all times.


Proposed methods of training will include:

  • Trainer-led facilitation
  • High degree of interaction and participation for delegates
  • Role-playing typical situations (using video or audio feedback, if applicable)
  • Group work including discussion groups
  • Workbook exercises and activities
  • Video scenarios of difficult situations with discussion regarding the techniques shown
  • Individual action plans developed during the course

All delegates will receive a 70 page workbook that doubles as an excellent post course reference manual.

All our in-house training is tailored to your requirements, this is our standard In-House Agenda but bear in mind the course could be tailored to your needs.

Other related courses include assertiveness skills, mediation skills, negotiation skills and communication skills for managers. Click here if you need more information regarding Dealing With Difficult People training courses or contact Total Success who will be delighted to talk to you via e-mail.


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